Trump on abuse crisis: ‘Sad’ to watch because I respect Catholic Church ‘so much’
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 6, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump called the allegations of widespread hiding of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church a “devastating” tragedy Wednesday, specifically singling out ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.
“It’s so sad to watch,” Trump told the Daily Caller. “The numbers, the length of time, you know, going back 70 years, I think it’s having a really negative impact on the Catholic Church.”
“To me it’s one of the sadder stories ’cause I respect so much the Catholic Church,” he continued. “And to me it’s a very sad story.”
Last month, a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified 301 priests accused of hundreds of cases of sexual abuse, with six different dioceses allegedly hiding their crimes for several decades.
The “sophisticated” cover-up “stretched, in some cases, all the way to the Vatican,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said, with church leaders keeping “secret archives” of abuse “just feet from the bishops’ desk.” Numerous abusive clergy were not only protected but promoted, the report found.
The president specifically referenced former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who is accused of molesting minors, including harassing seminarians and having them sleep in his bed. Father Boniface Ramsey says he attempted to warn church officials about McCarrick for years, while Archbishop Carlo Vigano alleges that Pope Francis himself was warned about McCarrick, but helped cover up the allegations.
“I’m surprised at McCarrick, everyone knew him and so incredible to see these things,” Trump lamented. “It’s devastating for the Catholic Church.”
The president declined to say which if any church officials should resign, however, and struck a diplomatic tone regarding Francis. “The Pope is handling it, I guess the best anyone can handle it,” Trump said. “How is he going to handle it?”
According to excerpts of the 2018 book The Dictator Pope provided to LifeSiteNews, the pope’s insistence “that he too is a champion against clerical abuse” appears to have "evaporated with Benedict’s resignation.”
“For those paying attention, Francis started signaling the new direction immediately by choosing to honor one of the most notorious of the enabling bishops—namely his electoral ally Cardinal Danneels, who appeared with the new pope on the balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica on the night of the election,” author Henry Sire writes. “In the name of his favorite theme, ‘mercy,’ Francis decisively broke with the Ratzinger/ Benedict program of reform, reducing the penalty for priest abusers to ‘a lifetime of prayer’ and restrictions on celebrating Mass.”